In my four years of digital marketing, the expectations and demands of digital marketing managers have increased dramatically. It’s not enough to just focus on social media and paid advertising — though those are important too! It expands beyond Google and Facebook to include your website and everything that drives potential customers toward conversions.
It’s not easy stuff. Enter Digital Optimization.
As the web has evolved, so have the strategies that drive our marketing focus. Digital optimization — the practice of reviewing, maintaining, and improving upon your current web and digital tools — helps keep abreast of that evolution and those strategies so that marketers and technical teams don’t find themselves falling behind.
It’s not digital marketing or digital transformation. But, it does play an important role in both. As a digital marketer at heart, I am very excited for Blend’s digital optimization practice, and I see three crucial areas of marketing strategy that will benefit from this practice:
SEO & Web Performance
Google recently released details on their most recent algorithm update — what they are calling the Page Experience. Within this update the core web vitals that are considered are what Google calls the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), the First Input Delay (FID) and the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — elements that are generally included in a performance audit.
What this means for marketers reagarding SEO is that while results are still influenced by keywords, they’re also influenced by site speed and performance. Gone are the days of driving an SEO practice based solely on keyword research.
Instead SEO now requires joint efforts between your marketing and technical managers. More than that, it requires ongoing attention. After all, a website isn’t static — it constantly evolves, both in content and performance.
Digital optimization in this context refers to monitoring performance and prioritizing CMS and structural improvements. This includes breaking down performance KPI to trackable and digestible metrics, as well as staying up to date and on top of both industry improvements and CMS upgrades.
As more and more businesses find ways to apply their customer journey model to an online experience, the need for digital experimentation and A/B testing has never been greater. But digital experimentation can spiral out of control if not properly monitored, wasting time, energy, and budget, not to mention unnecessary and ineffective strategies.
Which is to say it’s not enough to simply experiment blindly. A strategic approach to experimentation leads to more focused and usable results.
Tools such as Optimizely’s experimentation tool takes care of the creation side, making it easy to launch experiments and adjust in real-time. But the context of experimentation within digital optimization also includes a framework to pair experimentation opportunities with actual, achievable organizational goals.
You can A/B test everything, if you want. I don’t suggest it. Instead, the crucial skill is knowing what will bring you relevant answers and results that matter to the success of your business.
Digital Goal Tracking and Optimization
Finally — and, in my opinion, most importantly — digital optimization provides guidance as a planning and roadmapping tool.
In its simplest and purest form, digital optimization leads with ongoing planning sessions. Your website is a vital asset in an overall marketing strategy, and it draws input and expectations from a handful of departments and decision makers. Which makes the need for prioritization and trackable goals so important.
This means being intentional with goals and prioritization. Oftentimes, we treat goals as a “set it and forget it” type of thing. Our view of digital optimization prevents this through constant review across departments. This doubles as an effective way to gain buy-in and draw departments together — it’s difficult to disagree on priority when your metrics — and company goals — are right in front of you.
All in all, digital optimization isn’t just a buzzword — it’s an actionable process to extend the life and create consensus around your website. At Blend, digital optimization is a practice in building value in your web tools and treating them as an ongoing investment, rather than a money pit — one that continues to contribute to both marketing and top level goals.